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Crime & Courts

Louisiana Troopers: Dad Sleeps While 8-Year-Old Drives


Police say Billy Joe Madden slept in the passenger's seat while his 8-year-old son drove. (Louisiana State Police)

An intoxicated man was arrested early Saturday morning when Louisiana state police determined he took a snooze while his 8-year-old son took the wheel, authorities said.

The man allegedly told police he was letting his son drive while the family travelled between Mississippi and Texas. The boy was doing the speed limit, 70 mph, and pulled over when the police cruiser turned its lights on, authorities said. The boy apparently sat on the edge of the driver's seat in order to reach the gas. 

The boy’s father, Billy Joe Madden of Hattiesburg, Miss, rode in the passenger’s seat and his 4-year-old daughter sat in the back when police pulled the truck over in Livingston Parish, near Baton Rouge. The child’s driving was apparently so erratic that it alarmed motorists, who called authorities.

Madden, 28, was booked on charges including Child Desertion and Allowing a Minor to Drive. It was not clear Saturday afternoon if he had an attorney.

The children have since been handed over to Louisiana Child Protective Services and are awaiting the arrival of family members. There were no injuries.

Police first received a call from a motorist traveling on the I-12 at about 6:30 a.m., and identified the vehicle as a green Chevrolet pick-up truck, and said it was driving erratically and that a child appeared to be behind the wheel, authorities said in a statement.

During an interview with Madden, troopers said they determined that he was intoxicated and was sleeping while his son drove the vehicle from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Dallas, Texas.

Madden's bond was set at $1,474.00.'s Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.

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